LABEL REFLECTS LATEST CHIEF MEDICAL OFFICERS’ ADVICE ON ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION

British retailers have today taken a lead in encouraging more responsible behaviour towards alcohol by unveiling a newly revised label that will appear on alcoholic products in supermarkets across the country.

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) and its members took the initiative to revise their existing alcohol labelling following updated advice from the UK’s four Chief Medical Officers on the maximum number of units that should be consumed in a week as well as recommended frequency of alcohol consumption.

The newly revised label, which will be rolled out in supermarkets across the UK, will ensure that shoppers will have access to the same consistent information, ensuring they can make an informed purchase.

The label is just the latest in a series of measures put in place by UK retailers to drive more responsible alcohol consumption. Others include: the ‘Challenge 25’ initiative to prevent underage sales and working with community alcohol partnerships to tackle low-level disorderly behaviour.

Andrew Opie, the Director of Food and Sustainability at British Retail Consortium said: “The BRC and its members developed this revised label to ensure that the information passed onto customers about alcoholic products is based on the latest official medical guidance, and also helps customers to make informed choices. As an industry, retail has long led the way in encouraging responsible drinking and we will continue to work with the public health community in this regard going forward.”

Notes to editor:

  • New guidelines on alcohol consumption were published at the beginning of 2016 by the UK’s four Chief Medical Officers (CMO) (i.e. those for England and the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland).
  • The CMO recommendations introduced changes to the recommended maximum units to be consumed and the frequency of consumption.
  • The UK Department of Health has produced a guidance document outlining principles of how to communicate the CMO recommendations on alcohol product labels. This document does not however prescribe the manner in which the advice should be presented.
  • There is no fixed timetable for the rollout of the revised label across the retail industry. Given the diverse range of products involved, from slow to fast moving, the changeover will depend upon each individual retailer’s process for changing labelling, sometimes called the ‘labelling cycle’.
  • BRC members strongly believe that in the interest of public health, a common label should be used to communicate the message to consumers